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AEW Dynamite recap & reactions (Apr. 22, 2020): Show-stealers

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AEW Dynamite (Apr. 22, 2020) featured Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara in a barn burner, Dustin Rhodes putting his career on the line, and flim flam dancing from the Inner Circle.

Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

The meat of this week’s program was the TNT Championship tournament. There were two first-round matchups and an introspective promo from Cody Rhodes.

Dynamite kicked off as Cody took a seat in his superhero lair to assess the remaining competition in the tournament as well as his position. Is Cody the 3-star general mid-carder? Is he complacent and comfortable? Is he scattered in his role? Cody needs to answer the call. Time to find out who has enough will to win.

Great job of Cody setting the tone and emphasizing that the TNT Championship is a major title, not a mid-card belt. Every time Cody cuts one of these epic promos, I imagine that he turns to Pharaoh for a nod of approval, similar in fashion to Captain Kirk and Bones McCoy.

Show-stealers

Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara were finally ready to clash in the first round of the TNT Championship tournament. Ever since this bout was announced, it was highly anticipated. Darby and Sammy went to work and did not disappoint.

Sammy kicked off the action with a flying attack to the floor during Darby’s entrance.

Sammy also set up a flying splash onto a ladder draped across the apron and guardrail.

This was all before the opening bell. It was a callback to when they beat the stuffing out of each other during their previous encounter at Revolution back in February.

When the bell officially rang, Darby went rabid by tearing the boot off Sammy’s foot. Sammy wrestled the rest of the way with one bare hoof. The fight was physical, as evidenced by Darby bleeding from the nose. Highlights were Darby colliding with the guardrail on a suicide dive and Sammy hitting a 630 flying senton.

For the finish, Sammy caught a springboarding Darby to set up his fireman’s carry knee maneuver. Darby blocked Sammy’s knee then countered into a Last Supper grapevine roll-up to win. Darby advances to the second round. He will wrestle Cody next week in the TNT Championship tournament.

Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara stole the show. That was a very enjoyable duel that lived up to expectations. It was fast-paced with creative, vicious action. Those two have proven that they are ready to step into bigger roles now instead of being referred to as the next generation of stars.

I’m glad we’ll get Darby vs Cody in this tournament. Despite a potential feud tapering off, they are both still extremely competitive and have tremendous desire to win the title. They both need it for validation.

Dustin Rhodes staves off retirement

The main event of the evening was another TNT Championship tournament bout. Dustin Rhodes wrestled Kip Sabian. Earlier in the week, Dustin added a self-imposed stipulation that he would retire if he couldn’t beat Sabian.

Brandi Rhodes and Penelope Ford were ringside for support. Ford paid dividends early. Dustin had the upper hand until Ford grabbed his foot for Sabian to seize momentum. Sabian would attack Dustin’s knee, but he didn’t stick through with that strategy. Dustin and Sabian each hit signature moves, a powerslam and a springboard tornado DDT respectively.

The finish broke down with shenanigans. Sabian took Dustin down for hard ground and pound. Referee Aubrey Edwards took an excessive amount of time admonishing Sabian for what I assume where closed-fist punches. That distraction allowed Brandi and Ford to get in on the action. Brandi speared Ford out of the ring.

Sabian noticed his lady down and out. Dustin used that opportunity to attack with a Canadian Destroyer to win. Dustin advances to face Lance Archer in the semifinals.

Dustin Rhodes will not be retiring just yet. I can’t say I’m surprised. The whole saga felt manufactured quite quickly. AEW did earn my attention with the storyline, but it didn’t enhance my interest in the match. That is mainly because the story of Archer tearing through Cody’s brother is too juicy to pass up. AEW couldn’t forgo that opportunity by having Dustin lose in an upset to Sabian.

As for Archer vs Dustin, heck yeah! I’m pumped for that bout. Signs strongly point to Archer, but I’m not counting Dustin out. Dustin doesn’t have a hoss style, but he does have wily veteran know-how. He could very plausibly squeak out a win.


Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.

Matt Hardy response. Hardy delivered a message from his compound. He had previously invited Chris Jericho to his grounds but received no answer last week. Hardy did hear Sammy Guevara talking and welcomed him instead. Hardy then surmised that perhaps Jericho doesn’t understand his Broken brilliance. Hardy transformed into regular Matt. Matt is there to protect the future of AEW. He will kick ass of the Inner Circle until he gets to Jericho.

My initial reaction is not being too fond of another person aiming to run through the Inner Circle piece by piece, because we know that’s what will happen to get to the money fight of Hardy vs Jericho. However, it could be cool if all the fighting takes place on the compound with cinematic flair. I’m wondering if this might be a way to get Nick Jackson back into Blood & Guts now that he has had ample time to recover from being crushed by a steel curtain.

Technique by Taz. Taz broke down Kenny Omega’s V-Trigger and snap dragon suplex. Great analysis as always. I love these segments.

Kenny Omega defeated Alan Angels. Angels was difficult to put away, but Omega’s win was never in doubt. In the end, Omega ducked a clothesline the hit a snap dragon suplex. A V-Trigger, a gutwrench powerbomb, and a second V-Trigger sealed the deal.

Scorpio Sky profile. He always wanted to be a pro wrestler. He suffered a serious lower back injury in 2008. Sky woke up one day with less pain then tried to get back into wrestling. He already had two strikes, so this was his time to hit it out of the park. SCU was formed in 2017. To be continued...

Nice little segment. Sky has an inspiring story that will earn new fans through an emotional connection. This is a smart way to learn more about the roster. I look forward to more wrestlers being featured.

Orange Cassidy defeated Jimmy Havoc. Havoc utilized a strategy of methodical torture. OC eventually powered up for a flurry of offense. The finish involved the Best Friends, Penelope Ford, and Kip Sabian. Ford created a distraction on the apron. The Best Friends tried to handle her, but Sabian ran out from nowhere for a flying attack. Ford attempted to hit OC, but OC ducked. All the extraneous attention opened a window for OC to win via crucifix roll-up.

Later, the Best Friends cut a gym promo. Trent wants to fight Ford, but he can’t legally in the ring. He’ll settle for Sabian and Havoc instead. Best Friends vs Sabian & Havoc was made for next week with no disqualification.

I’m still not a fan of the OC gimmick inside the ring, but at least the flow felt more natural this time. All the interference at the end felt a little excessive, however, it had its purpose to continue the feud and set up a future match.

MJF injured. MJF had a message from his rat’s house in Cape Cod, MA. He teased talk of coronavirus tough times then swerved into actually talking about his absence on Dynamite. MJF’s arm was in a sling. He suffered a very serious hangnail injury that became life threatening. MJF will rise like a phoenix to become your AEW World Heavyweight Champion.

Fantastic sleazy promo from a scumbag. His MJFFs will be proud.

Wardlow defeated Lee Johnson. Squash. Wardlow threw Johnson around with suplexes. He clobbered his opponent with a huge knee then won via airplane spin slam.

Impressive power from Wardlow. It is so enjoyable to see people tossed through the air. It also adds that larger-than-life sense that makes pro wrestling special.

Dark Order recruitment. Preston Vance was boozing in a dark room. He had a promising football career before injury. Vance then sent a message to the Dark Order through their website. Fast forward to Mr. Brodie Lee accepting Vance into the fold. He handed Vance a creeper mask.

I didn’t pick up any McMahonisms this week from Mr. Brodie. When asked about Vance’s height, I thought it would be a ‘not tall enough’ dig. Nope. It turned out to be a solid recruitment pitch to focus the purpose of the Dark Order.

Brodie Lee defeated Justin Law. Squash to make a statement with power suplexes and running strikes in the corner. Mr. Brodie used a discus lariat to win. He also had his attention toward Marko Stunt in the crowd. Mr. Brodie stared at Stunt several times.

Mr. Brodie’s fascination with Marko Stunt is odd. What’s Mr. Brodie’s true intention? The Dark Order had previously offered a mask to Stunt, but I don’t see how he helps their organization. Could it be an attempt to lure in Luchasaurus? The Dark Order has stated that was their method to get Kenny Omega was through Michael Nakazawa. That was back when the Dark Order’s main goal was to eliminate the Elite.

Bubbly Bunch. Sammy G was down in the dumps about the Inner Circle’s losing streak. Hager told Sammy that he is too beautiful to be sad. Sadness is for ugly people. Chris Jericho proposed a dance party, so Santana suggested making a flim flam video. The Inner Circle danced their troubles away. Jericho was jealous of Sammy’s breakdance flips.

The Inner Circle is AEW’s ace in the hole when it comes to hilarious hijinks. Flim flam dancing will be a timeless gift to cheer anyone up who is down in the dumps. How can you watch that scene and not smile? I can see this being another successful attempt from Jericho at trending on the internet with memes and such.


Stud of the Show: Sammy Guevara’s ladder splash

The Spanish Sex God had the move of the night with his splash onto a ladder. The GIF was posted earlier above, but watch again anyway and enjoy the longer clip.

Dud of the Show: Dustin Rhodes’ weak win

While I was pleased that Dustin won, I thought the way he won was rather lame. In a regular match, fine. No issues from me. My problem has to do with the retirement stipulation.

Dustin wanted to prove himself by beating a wrestler the caliber of Sabian. I’d argue that Dustin proved very little to himself from a competitive standpoint. Sure, he won, but he took advantage of an opportunity to attack when Sabian was not focused. Dustin’s path to victory was muddied due to circumstances that were not of his own creation.

Dustin is surely happy with the success, as he should be. However, I’d bet that deep down he will not be filled with pride when he has time to reflect and study the tape. The ego being difficult to satisfy is part of the drive for greatness. The question remains if Dustin still has IT.

Grade: B

This episode was carried by Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara. That match is worth digging up if you aren’t a regular Dynamite viewer. Feuds are progressing to give future matches a little more heat. I’d like to start seeing AEW’s hosses move past squash matches, but I know it’s tough with the limited availability of their roster.

Share your thoughts about this episode of Dynamite. How do you rate it? What was your favorite moment? Who wants to flim flam dance?